In response to a series of acid attacks throughout Colombia, a bill in Congress has been filed for harsher penalties.
The alarming rate of acid attacks reported recently has led to a bill being filed to increase penalties.
According to MIRA, a Colombian political party, “the initiative seeks to raise the penalties for acid attack offences depending on whether the damage is temporary or permanent.”
Mira Representative Diaz explained that “depending on the damage, exemplary sentences of 12 and a half years to 45 years are being contemplated. Those who inflict temporary or permanent damage to others via acid or any other chemical will be punished with imprisonment between 12 and a half to 20 years and will be made to pay a fine of between $38,050 to $80,270 USD.
|“We are currently proposing that the minimum sentence is 15 years and that the maximum is 44 years”|
Stella added that “in instances where acid attack has resulted in deformation, partial or total loss of a body part, such as an eye a hand or an ear, the penalty will be 21 to 30 years in prison and a fine of of between $342,500 to $963,000 USD.
Currently acid attacks are classified as personal attacks but Bill 183 of 2014, filed by MIRA, calls for acid attacks to have a separate chapter in Colombian Criminal Law. This initiative aims for acid attacks to treated as a separate offense and for more severe penalties.
“The penalty can range from 16 to 30 years if the victim is a woman or a minor and if there is not any deformity. In instances where there is a deformity or total loss of a body part the penalty will range from 28 to 45 years.”
A MIRA press release stated “we hope that the Government has the political will to adopt this initiative instead of complaining about the overcrowding of prisons. This bill must be passed as everyday this heinous crime is claiming more victims.”
Last week Stella tweeted “Today marks 9 months since the law (1639,2013) against acid attacks was issued and the Government still has not implemented it.”
Furthermore, the prosecutor general has requested that the Ministry of Health reports the current status of compliance with orders issued by Law 1639 in July 2013, which increased measures to protect victims in similar attacks.
This Act gave the Ministry of Health six months to create a comprehensive care plan for victims which would provide them with information about their legal rights, resources and health care as well as help victims gain employment.
Since 2004, according to the National Coroner’s office, 61% of Colombia’s acid attack victims have been women. Acid attacks have effectively become an inexpensive way to devastate a woman’s life. In 2010, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture delivered a statement requesting that acid attacks be considered as a particular form of violent assault against women.
While acid attack victims are primarily women, men are also targeted. On Wednesday a 22 year old man, Alejandro Correa, died from the wounds sustained from an acid attack in Antioquia, El Pais newspaper reported. The woman he was with was also injured. The mayor of Medellin and Metropolitan Police have put up a warrant of $250,000 USD for information regarding the attackers whereabouts.
- Proyecto de ley busca penas más altas por ataques con ácido (El Pais)
- Anuncian tres proyectos para endurecer castigos a agresores con ácidos (El Tiempo)
- Desde 2004 en Colombia se denunciaron 926 ataques con acido (Carocol Radio)
- Muere joven en La Estrella, Antioquia, luego de ser atacado con ácido (El Pais)
- MIRA busca incrementar las penas para Ataques con Ácido (Mira Press Release)
- Proyecto 183 de 2014 acidos (Bill 183 0f 2014)
- International: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture’s Statement on Acid Attacks and Women (UN Statement)